Members of a Sicamous strata are hoping a majority vote opposed to short-term rentals will be respected by district council.
Eileen Doonan and Kevin Erne say they and other residents bought into The Legacy on 326 Mara Lake Lane knowing its current zoning, MUR-1 (multi-unit residential) does not permit short-term rentals. Under the district’s proposed new zoning bylaw, Bylaw 1000, The Legacy would be rezoned to MUR-2 (seasonal accommodation), which allows for short-term rentals.
At the September 28 council meeting, a public hearing was held on Bylaw 1000 and the bylaw received second reading. During the hearing, residents of The Legacy raised concern around the proposed rezoning as well as parking issues along Mara Lake Lane. It was stated a minority of Legacy property owners have been “renting illegally,” and that changing the zoning to MUR2 would “add fuel to the fire.”
In October, the Legacy’s strata council received a letter from district administrator Kelly Bennett, explaining how since the public hearing, new information relating to the preference of Legacy owners had come to the district’s attention, and council was seeking clarity as to which zone would be most appropriate.
“The District of Sicamous is requesting an official vote of preference between MUR-1 and MUR-2,” said Bennett, stating the district has been working on the new zoning bylaw for the past few years, and “it is important that this issue can get resolved in a timely manner so the Zoning Bylaw 1000 can be adopted and in place” for 2023.
Doonan and Erne said the strata conducted a vote on Nov. 2, and the results were submitted to the district.
“We took an official vote of which 67 per cent of the ownership voted to remain MUR-1, as we’ve always been, and that’s been presented to the district,” said Erne. “Our expectation is they now respect that preference and leave us zoned the way we are.”
In a Nov. 21 letter to the district under the name Legacy on Mara Concerned Owners Group, representing 37 owners, Erne and Doonan reassert there is no appetite to allow “short-term rentals (and all the chaos and harm they bring) into Legacy homes.” They also argue rezoning for short-term rentals would exacerbate parking/safety concerns on Mara Lake Lane.
“The capacity on that little road is swelled to the point where it’s a huge safety concern. We have people now parking in the ditch between Highway 97A and Mara Lake Lane,” said Doonan, noting future development along Mara Lake Lane won’t help matters.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has not given its approval of the bylaw. The ministry is working with the district to address impact concerns on highway corridors. This information was part of a Bylaw 1000 refresher provided by district staff at the Nov. 30 council meeting. Staff also spoke specifically about The Legacy and its vote to remain zoned as MUR-1. Development services manager Scott Beeching asked for direction from council before the bylaw comes back to council on December 14. Questions were asked and concerns raised about the parking, but no direction was provided on zoning.
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